A big 2-run double by Aristides Aquino in his return to the club, a rock-solid MLB debut from pitcher Graham Ashcraft, and a pair of electric innings out of reliever Alexis Diaz helped pace the Cincinnati Reds past the Toronto Blue Jays in the series finale on Sunday north of the border.
It was an 8th inning homer by Joey Votto, however, that turned the tide in the favor of the Reds for the first time in the series. His solo blast down the RF line was the first of the season, came in the town where he grew up, and hopefully will serve as something as the dropped-pin for him as he looks to continue his resurgence for the rest of the 2022 season after a brutal first month.
He’s been back for three games and has socked extra-base hits in each of them, after all, despite having only one to his name for his entire body of work prior to landing on the injured list to start the month of May. Ideally, this line of demarcation will be one that’s as turnaround-ish as the one from back in August of 2020 when he was benched for a trio of days and came back with a brand new swing and as much thunder as we’ve ever seen from him.
Votto walked on the day, too, and that earned him the Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game for the day, but the outing by Ashcraft was just as exciting. The rookie righty opened with a 100 mph fastball and his stuff was moving everywhere all day, and his 4.1 IP of 2 ER ball was a bit better than its overall results, I’ll say, especially given the short notice he had for being tabbed the starter on Sunday.
Reds 3, Blue Jays 2, and at least the club managed to salvage a game out of the series.
Tony Graphanino (link)
- Art Warren dutifully served as closer again today with a nice, tidy 9th inning and the save.
- Monday will see the Reds return home to GABP and be greeted with a sea of blue, as the Chicago Cubs and their cadre of wonderful fans will descend upon Cincinnati. The Reds have not yet announced a starter - they’ve got a plethora of roster moves to make once they clear customs and get back into the states after their series in Toronto - so look for that tomorrow.
- First pitch tomorrow is set for 6:40 PM ET, and we do know that Drew Smyly will toe the rubber for Chicago (meaning the Reds will be up against yet another LHP).